Topaz man dies after reportedly driving car into lake

A 74-year-old Topaz man died after he drove his car into Topaz Lake for unexplained reasons, then drowned before rescuers could get to him.

According to Mono County Sheriff's department officials, the incident occurred on Friday, March 9, at approximately 4:00 p.m. when sheriff's dispatchers received a report of a vehicle that had been driven into the water from the shoreline at Topaz Lake. It was reported that several friends were fishing on the shoreline of Topaz Lake when apparently, one of the friends got into his vehicle attempting to start the engine. Friends heard a splash and saw the vehicle in the water and floating away from the shore before it completely sank.

The driver, identified as Francis McConnell, 74, Topaz, was found by divers unrestrained, lifeless and deceased.

McConnell was brought to the surface and transported via boat to the shore. California Highway Patrol is the lead agency into the investigation of what caused the accident.

Final cause of death of Mr. McConnell will be determined by the Mono County Sheriff’s Office upon completion of autopsy and toxicology results.